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“It’s a strange thing, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

orloj-1102369_960_720Time, of course, does not really change pace but our subjective experience of time does.

If time seems to be speeding up to you, it is because you are not getting as much done as you want to in the time that you have.

How you manage what you need to do determines whether time is your enemy or your friend.

The most powerful tool that I know of at OSU for managing your time is the academic coaching program available at the Academic Success Center in 102 Waldo Hall.

At no cost students may meet with an academic coach in order to organize tasks, priorities and schedule, then meet regularly to maintain progress.

Many time and task management systems are available on paper and online.

The Uncalendar from People Systems is a 53 week calendar book without pre-set dates so that you can start today with templates for recording objectives, tasks, priorities, resources, notes and much more.

I track my due dates and tasks on both a paper date book and online because entering twice forces me to double-check which catches errors.

Trello, my favorite online project-management application, works as a list-making tool with capabilities for check-lists, due dates, reminders, labeling, and sharing.

Cross-platform mobile apps include the richly featured MyLifeOrganized to the simpler Wanderlust and

Important as it is to organize time and activity many people experience the frustration of consistently running up against deadlines; where does the time go?

Figuring out how you use your time is crucial to effective self-management and there are many time-use tracking applications, most of which are oriented toward business contexts but a 556656621_ba9e8c870f_zclever student could use any of these to produce an analysis of personal time and resource utilization.

Some cross-platform apps for desktop and mobile are Klok, RescueTime, ManicTime

For iOS there are Atracker, Eternity, Timely; Android users may look for Toggle, Yast and Timesheet.

Windows phone 8 supports ONTRACK, TimeSheet Tracker, and Time to Harvest.

Time trackers only work if you are consistent and honest with your time-logging, which if done for a month will give you the general patterns that allow for deliberate change; consciousness leads to control.

When you know what you need to do and how much time you have to do it, you may apply a powerful productivity technique called “Pomodoro.”

To use this technique you will need a simple timer with an alarm.

Here is how to apply Pomodoro:

1.Choose the task to be done

2. Set the timer to 25 minutes

3. Work on the task until the timer rings

4. Take a short 3 minute break

5. Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 twice more

6. Take a 15 minute stretch break

7. Start back at 1

At the end of this you have worked 2.5 hours plus 24 minutes break time, so it all took 3 hours – repeat the process or move on to another task.

ancient-1246694_960_720Several mobile and desktop applications help apply Pomodoro technique to different situations; look carefully at apps before committing to one as some are multi-featured and some are just timers.

Do Pomodoro every day and your productivity will increase.

Anxiety and the speed of subjective time are related and you can gain time by worrying less about it.

A 2015 study, “Mindfulness Meditation and the Experience of Time,” shows that practicing mindfulness leads to an overall perception of lengthening time.

As the study’s main author Sylvie Droit-Volet explains;

“Mindfulness training has two major goals. The first is to access a deep state of calm. The second is to focus attention and awareness on what is happening in one’s own body and mind as it happens, that is, in the present moment. Mindfulness therefore changes the relationship with time by focusing individuals’ attention on the present moment.” (P.89).

If you have time to worry and feel anxious, then you have time to practice mindfulness and there are numerous opportunities to do so.

Community colleges, Universities, recreation centers, and community health organizations offer workshops, classes and sessions focused on mindfulness.

Spiritually-oriented organizations such as Yoga, Transcendental Meditation, Tibetan Meditation and others offer instruction.

Books and audio guides address mindfulness techniques.

The Great Courses offers The Science of Mindfulness: A Research-Based Path to Well-Being on video or audio along with other self-directed high-quality spiral-544400_960_720_trcourses.

Some educators have embraced mindfulness and meditation as teaching/learning strategies, generally called Contemplative Learning.

Oregon State University has a Contemplative Studies Program in which courses within the general curriculum are taught using mindfulness techniques.

You can take courses in writing, psychology, philosophy, religion, and natural resources management that use mindfulness techniques in the class.

These are not courses about mindfulness, rather they use mindfulness methods to teach academic subject matters.

In other words, you can practice mindfulness, learn a topic, and satisfy degree requirements all in one classNow that is an effective use of time.

All of the techniques mentioned above take some time to discover and do. Perhaps you feel that you simply don’t have time enough to bother.

Therein lies the puzzle, when you are running out of time it is a sign that it is time to compel yourself to walk.

“When in doubt, I find retracing my steps a wise place to begin.” J.K. Rowling, The Prisoner of Azkaban.

Image Acknowledgements




4098316462_2846b60687So what do you know? Is there any measure to determine how much you know? If you needed to know something new would you know how to learn it?

Your answers to these questions matter more than any set of information that you memorized in school.

The reason is that the sum of knowledge is growing at an ever increasing rate.

The growing rate of knowledge was described by philosopher/inventor/genius Buckminster Fuller, whom you should learn about.

In his 1982 book “Critical Path” Fuller presented an analysis of collective knowledge based on scientific and technical milestones through history.

He assigned values to the earliest known innovations, tools of the Stone Age going back 3 million years, up to the year 1 CE and designated that value a “knowledge unit.”

Using that measure he found that it took about 1,500 years from 1 CE for that knowledge unit to double to 2 knowledge units.

It doubled again 250 years later to 4 knowledge units and again in 150 years, around the year 1900, to 8 knowledge units.

Other thinkers have used Fuller’s analysis to extrapolate that by the year 2000 collective human knowledge was doubling every year.curve1

Some observers project that with coming changes in our information networks, such as the internet of things (IOT), total knowledge doubling will occur on a daily or even hourly basis.

Using this system it follows that the pace at which human knowledge is accumulated is accelerating; not only is the amount of total knowledge increasing but also its rate of growth.

Is there a natural or functional limit to knowledge acceleration? We do not know.

In some respects self-knowledge is one of our areas of greatest ignorance.

Just months ago our species learned something new about ourselves – that each individual’s brain memory power is greater by an order of magnitude; a GFPneuronfactor of 10, than previously believed.

In 2015 Thomas Bartol and associates of the Salk Institute reported that the anatomic structures of the trillions of synapses in the brain support a carrying capacity measured in petabytes – millions of gigabytes.

This finding is important because in addition to the amount of available storage it reveals sophisticated synaptic processes that use probability to create and retrieve memory.

The fact that knowledge is increasing rapidly does not imply that our intelligence is unable to handle it.

Creating strategies for managing complex information is what intelligent organisms like us do.

The acceleration of human knowledge does imply that the primary skill of a future knowledge worker will be research, analysis and synthesis of the not-yet-known.

You will succeed at your job by finding relevant streams of data, turning it into meaningful information from which you will produce usable knowledge.

At present that set of intellectual skills is the realm of the expert who is typically hired as a consultant.

In the near future those forms of expertise will be the foundations of all knowledge work because every career will consist of navigating a steep learning curve in the face of the accelerating velocity of knowledge.

The knowledge that drives your field will have changed significantly by the time you start the job won via your degree.

Your core strength in that job will be your capability to learn.

You can hone that capability now in your work at OSU, but to do so you must color outside of the lines of specialization.

Here are three practical ways that you may ramp up your learning prowess.

First, treat all of your learning as valuable.  The process of learning anything strengthens your capabilities for learning something new.  It is short sighted to negate a learning experience just because you do not see value in the information. You are not a giant flash drive for storing information. You are a learning organism that can grow and adapt to changing conditions.

Second, broaden your range of learning. Mastering subjects in depth is powerful and so is challenging your mind with subjects outside of your specialty.  As the sum of human knowledge grows its complexity increases. Diversifying your learning experiences inculcates stronger strategies for managing complexity.

Third, plan to keep on learning. A degree is not a finishing line, it is a portal to new learning in new contexts. Set your sights on a continual path of life-long learning beyond any program or position and you will increasingly thrive in a world of complexity that many people find overwhelming.

Some time soon you will wake up each day to a job that is already obsolete, but you will not be obsolete because of your skill at navigating the raising rate of cognitive change.

Human knowledge is growing at a scale that is hard to measure and so are you.



1. Disinformation Alert!: As quickly as knowledge grows, disinformation spreads faster, even on the topic of knowledge.

A claim widely reported on the web is that IBM predicted that knowledge

doubling will increase to occur on an hourly basis. The re-telling’s of this this vary and are frequently referenced back to a web article by David Russell Schilling, Knowledge doubling every 12 months, soon to be 12 hours in which he writes;

“ According to IBM, the build out of  the “internet of things” will lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours.”

Schilling links “IBM” in the sentence to a 2006 article from IBM; The toxic terabyte How data-dumping threatens business efficiency. On page 2 of that article is this sentence;

“It is projected that just four years from now, the world’s information base will be doubling in size every 11 hours.”

The IBM article says no more about this matter than that single sentence and does not reference any source for the projection. We have to treat that claim as anecdotal and not authoritative as it has been subsequently played out on the web.

Moreover, that article and claim are about the growth of digital data which is entirely separate from the knowledge acceleration concept based in Fuller’s analysis. Schilling misinterpreted the IBM document. Nothing in that document supports the claim that is presented in the title of his article.

Schilling is a credible writer and typically provides sources for his articles. Sadly, his erroneous article title has been takes as a demonstrated truth by not-credible media personalities such as Glenn Beck who opined on his talk show;

“IBM has just come out and said all of human knowledge soon will double every – think of this – all human knowledge will double every twelve hours.”

Beck was adlibbing live from Schilling’s story on an iPad and adding his own embellishments ad hoc.

The assumption of authority and facticity of this hourly doubling claim increases with each retelling. Of course, we know that IBM said nothing of the sort.

Anyone may quickly check the sources and find for themselves the basic misinterpretation. That popular pundits such as Beck and his production staff do not do such basic fact checking underscores the key point of my posted article above, that the intelligent uses of information and knowledge are based in research, analysis, and synthesis.

Basic Intelligence Skill: Before replicating a claim, be sure that you have check the sources for yourself.

Beck, G. (2014). Will human knowledge soon have the power to double every 12 hours?

IBM Global Technology Services. (2006). “The toxic terabyte How data-dumping threatens business efficiency.”

Schilling, D.R. (2013). “Knowledge doubling every 12 months, soon to be 12 hours.”  Industry Tap into News. April 19.

Image Acknowledgements




Wenger_EvoGrip_S17I hope to persuade you that your summer plans should include a strategy for creating at least one substantive product that demonstrates your skills.

This matters because you will eventually be competing for a job, program or grant and those candidates who have demonstrated relevant skills shall prevail.

It is not hard to demonstrate a skill, but so few people do so that those who grasp its value will gain power.

Here is a formula for demonstrating your skills:

1. Identify a skill to promote

2. Do something that uses that skill

3. Produce a commentary on what you did,

4. Publish your commentary publicly

5. Refer employers and evaluators to your product.

To identify a promotable skill [step 1 of the formula] review the objectives of what you have already accomplished and find out what your potential audience values.

All of the courses and programs that you have completed have performanceimage3 objectives stated in the syllabi or other descriptive documents.

A strong way to prepare an account of your abilities is to review the performance objectives that you have met and write a paragraph expressing the specific knowledge or action that fulfills each objective.

I put each learning objective for the courses that I take (I am pursuing a MA in Psychology) on an index card at the start of the term, then write a statement of specific knowledge that fulfills the objective on each card at the end of the course.

Employers and evaluators tell us what they value and you should pay attention to what they are saying.

Read “The Six Critical Abilities Students Need for Success After College” in Forbes Magazine.

The employable skills listed in that article are; Think analytically, Express ideas effectively through written communication, Exchange ideas effectively through oral communication, Bring innovation to their work, Envisage and work independently on a project, Accept and act on criticism.

Read “IDC study reveals skills today’s students need to succeed in tomorrow’s unimagined world.”

When you look at a job application consider whether any of the parts asked for map to the skills identified by employers in these studies.

Acknowledging what you have accomplished, there is always more that you can do to validate a skill [step 2 of the formula] and the solutions are no further than your mobile phone.

Thousands of online courses, seminars, textbooks, eBooks and audio books are available for free or cheap.

Some of these are validated by universities such as Open Oregon State, MIT OpenCourseware, Stanford Online, and Merlot.

14695-adventures_moduleI recommend that you take a look at “Adventures in Writing” from Stanford Online which is a series of lessons presented in graphic novel style that you can take for free.

I ask you, is “I succeeded in a writing course from Stanford” or “I completed a seminar taught by a Nobel Prize laureate at MIT” worth having in your cover letter?

Even better, all such offerings have performance objectives so that you may map your skills back to what employers are seeking.

Open Culture is a massive repository of free online learning resources.

Even a little bit of computer programming knowledge is valuable in the job market and even the most non-technical of us can gain such knowledge at Khan Academy an Code Academy.

I am not suggesting that you pursue C++ coding, but that a truthful statement such as “mastered the basics of writing macros in Word in this certified tutorial” or “over summer break I learned Javascript which I applied to the website at…”

While you are learning something you may as well turn it into evidence of your competence (step 3 of the formula) by writing a review of the course-book-article-video that you studied and post your review on a blog or a review site such as Goodreads.

With even a small repertoire of such publications (step 4 of the formula) you will have objective evidence of your skills in learning and communication to be references in resumes, cover letters, and applications.

Consider the following statements from two job applications:

“I have excellent communication and collaboration skills.”

“My communication skills are demonstrated by my book reviews at link and my collaboration skills are demonstrated in the report that I produced from a group project at link” [step 5 of the formula].

If you were an employer, which statement would invite you to take another look at the candidate?

If acting on this advice interests you, please send your thoughts and opencultureoutcomes to me at

I wish graduating seniors and all degree recipients luck in entering an amazing career; your path to excellence is just beginning.

Fare ye well and come back to us some times, because once a Beaver always a Beaver.

To you who will return in Fall, have a wonderful summer, plenty of fun, make sure you learn something and make it count for you.


Image Acknowledgements




“Dr Tech I am hoping to be able to take notes in class on the PowerPoints that my teacher posts on blackboard. Do you have any recommendations of how to be able to take notes on the actual PowerPoint. `Alicia”

laptop_notes[2]That’s a very good question Alicia. Annotating your class documents is a powerful study technique.

Annotation is adding new text and drawing that comments on the original text and images of a document.

The ancient Greeks called a document that was written over several times a “palimpsest.”

The resources referred to in this article with annotations and more are available at Dr. Tech’s Bookmarks.

Just as there is more than one way to stroke a cat, there are myriad ways to annotate PowerPoint slides (PPT) and Portable Document Format files (PDF) depending on your device, operating system and applications.

With any desktop or laptop you can annotate PowerPoint slides with typed text or digital ink.

Suppose that you download your Professor’s PowerPoint slides to follow along in class on your laptop.

To add typed notes to the slides

>Open the PowerPoint
>Notes Page

Now you can type and save notes to accompany each slide.

To write directly on the slides with digital ink

>Open the PowerPoint
>Slide Show
>Play from Start
>right click on the slide
>Pointer Options

now you can select the pen or highlighter, set the color and mark up the slides.

Touch screen monitors have options to use a stylus to write with digital inkink-42357_640 instead of a mouse.

Be sure to save the changes when done.

Tablets and phones require apps (short for “application”) to accomplish these tasks, but the apps have many additional features.

One way to annotate just about any document is to open the file within an annotation app, then use the app tools to mark it up.

This method uses a cloud-based storage such as Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive (formerly Skydrive). All of these have no-cost versions for OS platforms and devices.

Download the PPT or PDF file to the cloud-based storage app on your mobile device.

Open the file within the cloud-based storage app.

From the open slides or document select the “download” or “share” feature. These are usually icons such as an arrow or a box with a Curly Q; it takes exploration to learn the icon language of any app.

You will get an “Open In” dialog which shows icons of apps on your device. Select the app that you want to annotate in.

The file will open within your notation app and you can use all of its tools to mark up the slides and pages.

For iPads and iPhones there are a wealth of quality apps as no or low cost. Try several to compare features and usability. Notability (no-cost, 4.99); SlideShark (no-cost); Penultrimate from Evernote (no-cost); Air Sketch (9.99)

For Android and cross-platform annotation apps compare: Goodnotes + PDF (no-cost, 5.99); Notes Plus (2.99).

For Windows Phone 8 and Windows Surface 8 try InNote (no-cost).

There are more varieties of PDF annotators than for PowerPoint.

Increase your power and versatility by using a PDF conversion app which will turn many filetypes into a PDF.

A cross-platform no-cost app: Able2Extract PDF Converter.

Various online file converters: Online-Convert; cloudconvert.

Convert the PowerPoint to PDF and you can do a lot more with it.

When choosing a note taking and annotation app consider three factors:

First, can you use it on more than one device and share results between them?

Second, does it integrate with one or more cloud storage apps?

Third, will it import major document file types especially PDF, PPT, DOC, JPG and HTML?

White_Matter_Connections_Obtained_with_MRI_TractographyAlways backup your data to a separate drive and bring an alternative means to take notes in case your device does not cooperate; pencils still work just fine.

Most important, notes and annotations are only valuable when you give yourself time to review and prepare.

By making a separate outline and summary of your annotations and notes on paper, you will be activating your cognition and memory in a most effective way.

Do you have a favorite method or app for taking notes? Send your thought to Dr. Tech for consideration in a future article.

Best luck on your note taking, annotation, midterms and projects. Thanks for your excellent question, Alicia.


Image Attributions


ink-42357_640, pixabay


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